LOS ANGELES – Two goals and an assist from Bryn Hudson were not enough for No. 7 UCSB (18-14), as the team fell 10-5 to No. 10 UC San Diego (28-10) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
"We're in the NCAA Championships, so every team here is a competitor," head coach Serela Kay said. "I think as a program, we still need to learn that after you are successful, in order to rise again, you have to work harder and smarter and come together as a team.
"I give credit to UC San Diego because they are fighters. They did a nice job of wanting that game and controlling it the whole time."
Looking ahead to the Gauchos' final game tomorrow, Kay told her team "we are the Big West champions and are representing an amazing conference this weekend, so I think that it's important that we go out with pride.
"We have been resilient this whole season and have faced adversity. This is just another bump in the road."
Hudson paced the team in both the goal and assist columns, as she accounted for over half of the Gauchos' scoring. Also adding one goal apiece were Lauren Martin, Taylor Shore, and Jenna Solberg, while Mackenzie Brokaw and Miranda Schrader notched an assist.
On defense, the Gauchos kept busy with a combined nine steals with Taylor Shore and Brenna Thomas leading the way with two swipes each.
Fittingly, it was Hudson who registered the first goal of the game at the 6:47 mark in the first quarter. Positioning herself on the right wing, she floated her shot to the far post, beating the reaching arms of UCSD goalkeeper Courtney Miller.
But the lead would last for just 38 seconds, as the Tritons answered back by scoring on their first power play of the day. Overall, UC San Diego had a strong showing on its 6-on-5 advantages, as the team went 6-for-7 on those opportunities and scored on their first four.
The fourth UCSD power play gave the team a 4-1 edge at the 4:50 mark in the second quarter. However, the Gauchos snapped the Tritons' 4-0 run with their best play of the game. It started on the defensive side when Schrader stole the ball in front of the cage, setting up a prime UCSB counter attack. With her teammates sprinting down the pool, Brokaw delivered an outlet pass to Hudson, leading her directly to the cage for a one-on-one match up. From there, Hudson completed the play, registering the goal from point blank range.
Moving closer to the Tritons at 4-2, UCSB looked to keep it a two-goal game at the half, but San Diego reclaimed momentum of the game with a cross-cage score with 38 seconds left.
To open the second half, the Gauchos got on the board early with Lauren Martin scoring on a power play that she set up herself with one of her team-high three ejections. On the play, Hudson dealt a sharp entry pass to Martin from the right side, which set up the easy look for the center.
And while the team couldn't answer three straight UCSD goals to end the period, the Gauchos were able to respond early in the fourth thanks to Shore's work on the left wing where she slotted her goal between the near post and Miller.
The Tritons tacked on two more goals before the final minute, but UCSB would register the final goal on a power play with 32 seconds left. In that sequence, Schrader drew the exclusion and fired the inside pass to Solberg who finished the play from inside the two-meter zone.
UCSB will finish its NCAA Tournament play tomorrow at noon when they will play San Diego State in the seventh-place contest. The game will feature a video stream with live commentary, which you can watch here.